I can’t do this! I think to myself as yet another thing goes wrong with my health. When trials and suffering stretch way past the daily challenges I face, I start to think how can I possibly keep going? Isn’t this all too much for one person to handle. One of my conditions is enough to profoundly impact upon ones life on a daily basis, let alone having multiple life altering conditions, and now there is more to deal with on top of that. Lord, I just can’t do this anymore, I cry out to Him. I feel like a very thinly stretch piece of clay that is being tested way beyond its limits.
In those moments I can feel tempted to feel alone and start to feel sorry for myself, but I know I need Jesus. I know that because Jesus is walking along side of me then I am not alone. I know that Jesus has experienced the greatest suffering and the greatest feeling of isolation. I know that Jesus experienced far more pain than I ever could imagine, as He was nailed to the cross and experienced total separation from His Father, so that I would never be separated from my Heavenly Father. But in those moments of desperation, where I feel that I can’t do this, and endure more suffering and hardship, I forget what God’s Word tells me about trials and suffering. In that moment I need Jesus to come and point me back to His word.
When I go back to the Word, I realise that I should not be surprised that more trials and suffering are occurring on top of the daily challenges I face. 1 Peter 4:12 – 13 tells me “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.” Over and Over again the Bible tells me to rejoice in my suffering. Romans 5:3-5 tells me to rejoice in my suffering knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame. In fact, James 1:2-3 tells me to “Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” I should rejoice because these trials and sufferings the Lord sees fit to employ are developing my character. They are making me stronger to serve His Kingdom.
I think to myself, I get that, and I feel that my character is well developed in handling suffering and trials, so I don’t need anymore, thank you. But that’s clearly not what God thinks, as I grit my teeth and go through the next circumstances where I think I can’t do this. I feel that surely cracks will start to emerge in this thinly stretched piece of clay. I am tempted to give up, to walk away, and to stop fighting. Then I am reminded that 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells me “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” I know that God will help me to endure this temptation to give up and stop fighting, and that He will give me what I need to get through the additional suffering and hardship. His word says “ And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). He knows what I need, and He has already gone before me to supply me with those needs. I just have to wait on Him, and rest knowing that I am not alone but that He is walking this journey with me.
It is only then that I can rejoice in the trials and suffering that I am enduring. It is only then that I can trust that the One who made me, has gone before me in the current situation and has already provided a way forward. It is only then that I can sing with true joy words such as “Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say it is well, it is well with my soul”, or “He will hold me fast, for my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast”, or “When the race is complete, still my lips shall repeat: Yet not I, but through Christ in Me”.